Self-healing for the mind, body and soul
Kyra Page is a personal trainer at SAIT who has first-hand experience in healing her own body through movement.
Burpees are her saving grace.
“Whenever I’m feeling down, I do burpees. I’m writing a book about burpees right now, actually. They are the number one pick-me-up during the day,” Page said.
The fitness instructor has strived to live an active lifestyle, even while struggling with different medical conditions that include depression, fibromyalgia, and multiple forms of arthritis.
Page uses exercise as her main tool for reducing her chronic pain.
She found her first pain-free moment 15 years ago, when she took her first spin class.
“That was the first time I had felt pain relief. My endorphins kicked in, which was great, because I was always opposed to taking a lot of medications. I realized in that moment that I wanted to help people be able to experience pain relief in a healthy way,” she said.
While suffering from early degeneration of the spine, Page found solace in building muscles around her spine to reduce the limpness and pain in her lower back.
When she found out which methods of exercise benefited her most, she was eager to spread the word to other people who have similar problems.
Although there is no exact way to determine how fibromyalgia starts in the body, trauma and stress are suspected causes of the disorder.
Page has worked with the Live Strong foundation to help train cancer survivors get back into personal workout routines.
She also worked with Pedaling for Parkinson’s, a program that helps people with Parkinson’s syndrome start cycling.
“The clients do so much to help themselves heal physically and mentally, it’s inspiring to see how much progress they make.”
With a background in mental health and social work, it’s no wonder that Page believes in well-rounded personal care.
“I really believe in order to be healthy, people have to tend to every dimension of their body: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.”
She left her mental health practice to work full-time in the fitness world.
“I lost a lot of clients to suicide. With me already being pre-disposed to depression, it was a lot to deal with. I’m much happier being around other personal trainers and clients,” she said.
Page said that the best part of her job is knowing from experience the benefits her clients will receive through certain routines.
During a period of her life she was prescribed anti-depressants, which worsened her medical conditions.
“I ended up in the hospital because I was so ill from taking anti-depressants. There were a lot of things that never seemed to get better. My Cheresterol went up, along with my body fat and blood pressure–I gained 30 pounds. Being someone who worked out everyday, that was really confusing to understand, and hard to handle,” Page said.
After stopping the anti-depressants, Page moved on to use remedies like strength training to combat her pain.
The most challenging part of Page’s job is getting her clients out of a negative headspace.
“I try to challenge people’s thoughts. Sometimes people will come in and say they feel fat or weak, but once they step on the scale, they see that they’ve actually lost weight. Getting an objective measurement can make all the difference to your mindset,” Page said.
She can remember a specific man named Lan who helped motivate her to keep a positive attitude.
“Lan was an avid cyclist who wiped out on his bike one day. He fractured his spine and ended up becoming a partial quadriplegic, who will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair,
Every Sunday after his accident, Page would take him around the track at a local high school. Each week, he would gain more movement in his fingers. It was amazing to see.
He also just always had the biggest smile on his face.
It really made me realize that no matter what disorder or disease you live with, choosing to keep a positive mentality makes all the difference.”
Page’s daughter is also a huge inspiration to her and has been since she was born.
“When you’re teaching someone else to be healthy, you get healthier as well,” she said.
“I am a living example that you can experience a full life even with chronic pain.
If you surround yourself with people who are positive and care about their health, you will get healthier as well.”